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ETSU, Loyola University Maryland report possible meningitis cases

Two universities reported possible meningitis cases, pending confirmation on Thursday, Jan. 16. and are taking preventive actions currently.

Two American universities report bacterial meningitis cases
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

At East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, school officials said Thursday, Jan. 16 that a dining services employee has been hospitalized with possible meningitis.

The confirmed diagnosis in pending; however, preventive measures were put in place.

Washington County Health Department says there has been no risk to the safety of food operations at ETSU, and no individual is believed to be at increased risk for exposure. Classes were not in session when the employee was last on campus on Saturday, Jan. 11.

In Baltimore, a Loyola University Maryland student has been hospitalized with possible bacterial meningitis, according to a Baltimore Sun report yesterday. The student is reportedly in serious condition at a local hospital.

As in the ETSU case, laboratory confirmation is pending and school health officials are evaluating the student's roommates and other close contacts for whether prophylactic antibiotics are required.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says bacterial meningitis is usually severe. While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities.

There are several pathogens that can cause bacterial meningitis, including Neisseria meningitidis, which is a common cause of the disease in college aged people.

In the United States, about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis, including 500 deaths, occurred each year between 2003–2007.

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